Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
Air conditioning is essential to making the modern home or workplace more comfortable and healthy. Deciding whether to install ceiling-mounted cassette-type air conditioners or wall-mounted mini-split units is a question of budget, aesthetics, and ventilation system design.
Framed ceiling-mounted cassette air conditioners are designed to fit the standard 24″x24″ ceiling panels and are ideal for mounting in large rooms’ center of the ceiling. Wall-mounted mini split air conditioners are most popular and easy for retro fitment to smaller spaces.
The best type of system to select for your house will depend on how the cooling ventilation will be integrated with the house ventilation system. Mini-split systems all have outdoor compressors and heat exchangers and can be linked to the air handling units inside the house.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of ceiling-mounted versus wall-mounted delivery units.
Ceiling Mounted Cassette Or Wall Mounted Mini Split AC
Mini-split air conditioner systems are designed to all have the compressor, and heat exchanger unit mounted outside the building, thus eliminating the noise of the compressor and the space required from inside the house.
The internally installed air handling unit can be in several configurations to suit the different needs and space constraints:
- Ceiling mounted cassette systems
- Wall-mounted systems
- Floor mounted systems
These delivery units do not require any preinstalled ducting but must be connected to an external compressor and heat exchanger unit.
There are pros and cons to each type of unit, and it is a matter of personal preference and cost which kind of unit will work best for you.
Ceiling Mounted Cassette Type Units:
- Hides the unit in the ceiling
- Only the vents are visible
- It fits standard 24″ x 24″ ceiling tiles
- Delivers broader and gentler cool airflow than wall or floor mounted units
- Directs cool air in four directions and draws air in via a center vent
- Generates less noise than wall or floor mounted units
- Vents can be controlled as required
- Easy to access the filters for monthly cleaning
- Fitment of photocatalytic air purification filter is possible
- The best option for large rooms as the air distribution is more efficient
- Ducting to adjacent rooms is
- More expensive than wall or floor mounted units
- Required ceiling hatch for maintenance
- Requires longer connections to the external heat exchanger and compressor unit
- Not recommended for small rooms and hallways
- A ceiling space of at least 12 inches is required for installation
- Not ideal for multi-stored homes
Wall Mounted Units:
- Easy to install as a retro fitment
- Cheaper than ceiling-mounted systems
- Easy to do monthly maintenance to clean filters
- Photocatalytic air purification systems cannot be fitted
- The best option for small rooms, entrances, and hallways
- DIY installation options are possible
- It is visible in the room
- Requires sufficient ceiling height to allow airflow into the top vent
- Vents can only be directed in one direction
- It cannot be connected to ducting to cool adjacent rooms.
Central Air Conditioning Vs. Mini Split Air Conditioning
Central AC systems are more energy-efficient than having multiple mini-split units installed to cool all the rooms in your home. The initial installation cost of a central AC system is thirty percent below that of a comparable mini-split system.
A Mini-split system is easier to install or retrofitted to older homes and affords one to set and control the temperature of each room. These units are ideal for small rooms and apartments where the ceiling space does not allow for ducting.
Mini-split systems require no ducting as they are installed near the ceiling or on the floor of each room and are linked to an external heat exchanger and compressor unit. They are very energy efficient as they recirculate air within the room where installed and thus are not working as hard to extract heat.
Mini-split systems can save you 25% in energy cost versus a central AC system, and this difference will easily offset the initial 30% higher upfront cost.
On the downside, mini-split units are pretty visible and can contract with the styling and color scheme of the room. They are not suitable for providing fresh air into the room and are not ideal for large rooms or venues.
Central air conditioning is ideal for large homes or office buildings and is suitable for providing a mixture of fresh and conditioned air in large spaces. The system can be installed in a basement or externally and linked to the rooms via a network of ducting.
The ducting vents can be hidden in the floors or ceilings and will have little or no impact on the room’s aesthetics. When done before construction, the planning and installation will be a significant cost saving.
Retrofitting central air conditioning systems will require extensive work to install the insulation and ducting to link the system to each room. The extensive ductwork will also require maintenance to keep them insulated and free of dust and rodents.
The operating costs of a central AC system are higher than that of focused mini-split units that can be individually controlled.
How To Calculate The Size Of AC System Required
Calculating the size of the air conditioner system needed for a specific room requires that you multiply the area of the room (length x width in feet) in square feet with 25 BTU. For example, a space of fifteen feet long by twelve feet wide has an area of 180 square feet x 25 BTU equaling 4,500 BTU.
You would thus need a mini-split unit with a capacity of at least 6,000 BTU to provide comfortable cooling and heating capacity for the room.
To calculate the size of a central air conditioning system, the area and ceiling height must be used to calculate the required capacity of the AC unit. Online calculators are available for ease of use.
Trying to save money by doing DIY installation of mini-split systems is possible, but it can quickly go wrong and lead to an even more expensive repair. AC installers will warrant their labor, and all recognized AC manufacturers provide product warranties for at least ten years. It is well worth the extra money to have the peace of mind of a ten-year equipment and labor warranty.
The decision to be cool and comfortable is wise. The seasonal temperature variations are becoming more extreme, and we need to be ready for it. Whether you are looking at the ease of installation and versatility of mini-splits or the out of sight comfort of ceiling-mounted units, you need to consider all the pros and cons.